In a new series on our favourite teams, Ben Sibley fondly recalls the Bundesliga-winning Wolfsburg side of 2008-09…
Published in 2008, page 88 of the fifth edition of Aircraft Rescue and Fire Fighting states that “A fire naturally occurs when the elements [heat, fuel and oxygen] are present and combined in the right mixture”.
In August of the same year, Zvjezdan Misimović joined fellow Bosnian Edin Džeko and the Brazilian Grafite at Wolfsburg – managed by Felix Magath. Magath, shocked by the decision of Wolfsburg’s outrageously-talented but homesick Marcelinho to return to Brazil, believed Misimović was the ideal replacement – he was signed for just under £4m and tied down to a four-year deal.
Misimović was a wonderfully gifted attacking midfielder and had enjoyed an eye-catching 07/08 season in a Nurnberg team that lost half of its league games and couldn’t escape relegation to 2. Bundesliga. He had the technique that ensured his vision and reading of the game was utilised regularly and ruthlessly. All he needed was a player on a similar wavelength – he ended up with two. Continue reading →
After an impressive individual display in Munich, Nathan Carr considers Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain’s role in the England team ahead of the World Cup…
Arsenal left the Allianz Arena on Tuesday night empty-handed after fighting back from a goal down to clinch a draw. But it wasn’t enough as the aggregate score of 3-1 sent Bayern through to the quarter-finals of the Champions League.
As the Arsenal players trudged off the pitch at the final whistle, one individual could hold his head high: Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain. He was outstanding on the night, acting as the only real attacking threat for Arsenal throughout.
The midfielder has only recently returned from a lengthy period of time out on the side-lines which makes his performance even more impressive. With Roy Hodgson carefully monitoring players in varying competitions right up until he announces England’s World Cup squad, Oxlade-Chamberlain’s exploits against Bayern will certainly do him no harm at all. That game may well have just cemented his place in England’s squad to travel to Brazil. Continue reading →
Tom Victor looks back with fondness at the 2000-1 Champions League season…
Over the last few years the Champions League has – in amongst the tired predictability of shit-on-a-stick derbies and Messi and Ronaldo hat-tricks – had moments of bona fide craziness so ridiculous you wonder whether they actually happened.
Classic examples include Monaco’s 8-3 win over Deportivo La Coruña in 2003 and Lyon getting the win by five clear goals to qualify from their group in 2011, but nothing matches the 2000-01 competition for moments that make you look back and think “what, really”? Continue reading →
Simon Smith reflects on some of the tactical trends from last season…
The summer of speculation is fully underway as gossip, exclusives, breaking nonsense and rumours replace the reflections team of the year lists and player reviews. It can only mean one thing: enough time has passed for us to properly look at the last year from a few steps back and assess a season that wasn’t quite.
In entertainment terms that is. In tactical terms, quietly and under the radar, there were some big changes taking place. Perhaps the biggest season in four or five years in terms of the changes to playing style at the highest level, 2012-13 won’t be remembered as a classic but certainly will be remembered as the year tiki taka lost its sheen. The event of the season for the purist must surely be Bayern Munich’s demolition of the much heralded Barcelona in the Champion’s League, an outcome some had predicted but executed in so brutal and total a manner as to surprise world football in general. The death of tiki taka was the talk of the internet, but it was clearly premature. What we can say with more clarity is that the dominance of tiki taka is over, and even if nothing as coherent and successful has come along to replace it, the one system hegemony of the Xaviesta era is probably over now. Continue reading →
The news regarding Dortmund’s Bayern-bound wonderkid’s Champions League final lay-off has been overplayed in the pre-match media hype. With Marco Reus, Dortmund have the ideal man to fill the gap both tomorrow night and in the seasons to come argues Scott Jenkins…
As news broke of Mario Götze’s injury and likely absence from the all-Bundesliga UEFA Champions League final between Borussia Dortmund and Bayern Munich, the sporting media broke out into a typical frenzy. Such a reaction is only natural you may think, after all this match is the highest profile game of the domestic football calendar with the player in question the current golden boy of German football. The subject of a controversial pending €37m summer switch between these two teams, and already hailed as the “German Messi” by Franz Beckenbauer, to casual eyes it seemed as though Dortmund’s most vital player had been snatched away from them even sooner than they had anticipated.
There can be no doubting that losing a player of Götze’s calibre is a loss for Dortmund, but what has been missed are the advantages his accelerated removal from the starting lineup could bring to BVB.
Step forward, Marco Reus.
The high flying, bleach-blond attacking midfielder was brought back to the club by Jürgen Klopp in July 2012 following a pre-contract agreement made during the previous winter break. Originally a product of the Dortmund youth set up, he left for German third division side Rot Weiss Ahlen in search of first team football. The risky move paid off with one of Reus’ goals for the club leading to promotion to the second tier of the Bundesliga on the final day of the season. At the end of the following campaign Borussia Mönchengladbach came calling and Reus’s first goal for them was a highlight reel 50 metre solo run against Mainz 05. Ninety seven games and thirty six goals later, including a run of seven strikes in twelve matches at the start of the 2011/12 season, Dortmund beckoned once more after meeting the €18m fee required to buy-out his contract. Continue reading →
Germany’s top division is the league of the moment, hailed as an emerging power by the great and the good of the European game. While others lose themselves to the hype, Scott Jenkins takes a step back to reassess the recent plaudits and ask what took everyone so long?
Before we start on this journey, I want you to cast your minds back to a time before Gareth Bale won both the Player Of The Year and the Young Player Of The Year awards. A time before QPR and Reading had been relegated and long before Sky Sports News had reached fever point over Arsenal’s prospective guard of honour (did anyone other than them actually care?). Instead I want you to return to last Thursday…
It’s the morning after the nights before. Those nights in question are of course Tuesday 23rd April where Bayern Munich (München to any German readers) destroyed Barcelona 4-0 and Wednesday 24th April when we all witnessed Borussia Dortmund’s 4-1 triumph over Real Madrid. Two Champions League Semi Final first legs, one aggregate score reading “Germany 8-1 Spain” and football’s biggest superstars left dejected, facing their greatest adversity of the season at its worst possible time. Continue reading →
It’s the football transfer that has shocked the world. Paddy Spicer Ward laments the departure of Mario Götze to FC Hollywood…
I have become somewhat disillusioned by the world of modern football. I am referring to the announcement that Mario Götze is to leave Borussia Dortmund this summer and join Bundesliga rivals Bayern Munich.
The move by Munich to trigger Götze’s minimum fee release clause of €37m will make him the most expensive German footballer ever. I am however really trying to find a logical reason for Götze to want to leave Dortmund, that isn’t motivated my money. I can’t find one, and this has started to trouble me. Continue reading →